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Home Winners > Winners 2016 > NEW WORLD: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux Blends: Australia

Winner Details

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux Blends, Australia

2016 Gold: 2 Silver: 13 Bronze: 2 Commended: 7
2015 Gold: 6 Silver: 6 Bronze: 5 Commended: 5

If we assume that 2015’s six Golds was an exceptionally good haul for Australia, then this year’s two was a solid ‘back to normal’ performance rather than a big drop with the Bordeaux blends. Well, we say ‘Bordeaux blends’ – but the concept of blending is not one that seems to be catching on much Down Under, and this section was made up almost entirely of single varietals. And since single varietal Merlot remains a blessed oddity they were nearly all Cabernet.

This might sound like a recipe for tedium, but in fact (like last year), our tasters were impressed with what they found. While this year’s wines may not have provided quite so many Gold-Listed high points, there was a lot of strength in depth. Taster after taster praised the consistency and overall balance of the wines before them – something that came through in the high number of Silver medals awarded.

If there are any negatives from what was a largely positive experience, it would be the under-performance of Margaret River (no Golds, compared with four last year) and a few reservations about the dialling down of traditional Australian exuberance – particularly in big-fruit areas like Coonawarra. Somms like elegance, it’s true – but not at the expense of local character.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘The flight of the day. The consistency, the vibrancy, balanced and structured. They were a real pleasure.’ Sam Caporn MW, team leader

‘The consistency of the quality – great typicity, they were blackcurrant and eucalyptus in a really nice way, and there was some fantastic value. People think about Shiraz as Australia’s red grape and Cab is an underdog, but it shouldn’t be.’ Daniel Murray, Berners Tavern

‘If you like a direct, fruity, accessible Bordeaux blend then Margaret River is the place to go.’ Sarah Jane Evans MW, team leader

‘You need to have a Cabernet Sauvignon on the list from Australia, and Margaret River has a particular characteristic.’ Julien Sahut, Sexy Fish

‘The Coonawarra Cabs seem to be going more restrained. In one sense, it’s a good thing, but they’ve rather lost some of what made them good in the first place. They were perfectly pleasant, but not so much personality as we expected.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader

“My favourite flight of the day. I will start thinking more about listing Australian wines after today.” Zuzanna Rogowska, M Restaurants

Award winners

Found 30 wines

New World: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Bordeaux Blends, Australia

Berton Vineyards, Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Coonawarra, South Australia , Australia

Gold medal winner

Soft and easy drinking, but full of eucalyptus and a typical sense of place. Team leader Laura Rhys MS noted this Gold Lister's 'rich, bold fruit and herbaceous character', while Alex Cooper of Haymarket Hotel found 'generous fruit, good spice and soft tannin', and Caroline Catering's Richard Brooks said: 'Big wine!. This calls for some really big red meat dishes.'

£9.92 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Redheads Studio, Esulé, 2014, McLaren Vale, South Australia , Australia

Gold medal winner

'Silky and well balanced, with ripe, dark fruits and rounded tannins,' said Piero Pruneri of Aramark at JP Morgan, epitomising how Cabernet champions Redheads Studio struck Gold. 'Smooth on the palate with dark notes of leather, chocolate and liquorice, and a lovely viscous texture on the palate,' said Daniel Murray of Berners Tavern, with team leader Sam Caporn MW noting its 'fruits of the forest and summer pudding aromas, a very pretty wine of great purity and structure'.

£15.55 Direct Wines Production

Bisquertt, Q Clay, 2012, Colchagua Valley , Chile

Gold medal winner

Deeply loved from the start. Piotr Tomaszewski of JKS Restaurants found a 'beautiful nose of roses and violets with nuts and cherry', then more cherry on the palate and 'a touch of crème caramel, almond and green pepper' on the palate, while Adriana Valentini of Massimo Restaurant & Bar admired its 'integrated tannins and wood, black pepper spice and maturity'. Team leader Natasha Hughes MW called it 'a classic balance of leafy Cab and spicy Shiraz, well balanced, fleshy and appealing. Ideal with slow roast lamb tagine.'

£13.16 Molson Coors

Mitolo, Jester, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, McLaren Vale, South Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

'Spicy, peppery, vegetal and herbaceous,' began Zuzanna Rogowska of M Restaurants, with team leader Sam Caporn MW finding plenty of 'black cherry notes with morello cherry on the finish, and nice structure'.

£10.50 Liberty Wines

Dandelion Vineyards, Damsel of The Barossa, Merlot, 2014, Barossa Valley, South Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

'Quite light cedar notes on the nose, a slight baked fruit character, but a sound, minty, savoury style,' said team leader Sam Caporn MW. 'Very pronounced fruit, juicy and elegant,' added Zuzanna Rogowska of M Restaurants.

£10.00 Liberty Wines

Accolade Wines, Starve Dog Lane, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Clare Valley, South Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

'Lovely, deep cedar character on a relatively restrained nose, with good concentration on the palate. Well made,' said team leader Sam Caporn MW. 'A powerful number, with marked tannins,' confirmed Piero Pruneri of Aramark at JP Morgan.

£10.87 Matthew Clark

Wynns, Black Label, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, Coonawarra, South Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

'Lovely richness of darker fruits, with black cherry and blackberry coming to the fore, followed by well-rounded tannins and good spice with a smooth finish,' said Haymarket Hotel's Alex Cooper, while team leader Tom Forrest also noted the 'soft spice and smoky savouriness'.

£15.28 Bibendum Wine

Rathbone Wine Group, Xanadu, Exmoor Drive, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, Margaret River, Western Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

Julien Sahut of Sexy Fish found 'leafy, juicy, peppery aromas, with big, rich, spicy black fruit' on the palate, while team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW said: 'Floral and delicately scented, bright and vigorous on the palate, full of energy and brambly fruits.'

£9.18 Bibendum Wine

Katnook Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, Coonawarra, South Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

A more subtle style but still showing vibrant fruit and fresh acidity, with team leader Laura Rhys MS noting its 'dark fruits, juicy and bright on the palate', and Caroline Catering's Richard Brooks picking up on the 'earthy, plummy fruit character' and 'huge warmth', saying: 'A big appealing glass of wine.'

£15.50 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Accolade Wines, Hardys, HRB, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Margaret River/Coonawarra/Frankland River , Australia

Silver medal winner

'Very elevated mint and eucalyptus on the nose and palate, with a dry tannin finish,' said team leader Sam Caporn MW, while Zuzanna Rogowska of M Restaurants highlighted its 'big, powerful, bold character with touches of spice and dried fruit'.

£17.55 Matthew Clark

Berton Vineyards, Metal Label, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015, South Eastern Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

'Wow! Lovely colour and massively lifted nose, with black cherry, mint and cassis,' said team leader Sam Caporn MW, adding: 'Commercial, tasty and good value.' 'Peppermint and bell pepper with a touch of sweetness, fresh and elegant on the palate, with delicate tannins,' added Zuzanna Rogowska of M Restaurants.

£8.14 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Ben Glaetzer, Anaperenna, Shiraz/Cabernet, 2013, Barossa Valley, South Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

Piotr Tomaszewski of JKS Restaurants found plenty of dark fruit complexity, 'warm crème de cassis and cherryish plum', along with floral notes of violet and rose petal, adding: 'Good balance, elegant and smooth with a touch of cinnamon, full-bodied and well made with a lot of red forest fruit and vanilla.'

£29.51 Enotria&Coe

Pérez Cruz, Single Vineyard, La Higuera Block, 2014, Maipo Valley , Chile

Silver medal winner

'Very enjoyable,' said Alex Sergeant of Hurley House, continuing: 'There's mellow red fruit, a touch of herb and a nice balance of tannin and acid.' 'Pleasant vanilla and black fruit nose, full-bodied and intense on the palate,' added Matthieu Longuère MS of Le Cordon Bleu.

£9.15 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Yalumba, The Menzies, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, Coonawarra, South Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

A lovely example, with ripe, rich, black fruit compote character, showing notes of Christmas spices and black olives on a long and complex palate. Team leader Tom Forrest picked up on the 'leathery black fruits, the white pepper and spice aromas', and the excellent balance throughout.

£24.82 Negociants

Amelia Park, Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, Margaret River, Western Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

'Well balanced, smooth and rounded, fruity and well developed, with soft, medium tannins,' said Galvin La Chapelle's Michaela Večeřová, while team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW added: 'Bursting with ripe juice at the onset, but calms down with menthol and spice from the oak. Long.'

£25.00 New Generation McKinleys

Hay Shed Hill, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Margaret River, Western Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

Team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW found this a 'fun and friendly' red with its 'bright, juicy red fruits', while Julien Sahut of Sexy Fish noted its 'fresh, juicy nose and dry, peppery, spicy palate with plenty of tannin'.

£13.10 Bancroft Wines

Heartland, Directors' Cut, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Langhorne Creek, South Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

'Big, peppery Cabernet nose with ripe, sweet fruit on the palate,' began Daniel Murray of Berners Tavern, with team leader Sam Caporn MW noting 'good cedar with some spicy oak, red and black fruit, and lovely length'.

£17.42 Enotria&Coe

Fraser Gallop, Parterre, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011, Margaret River, Western Australia , Australia

Silver medal winner

'Complex red fruit and cedar nose, retrained on the palate but full of juice and red fruit with delicate, grainy tannin,' said team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, while Julien Sahut of Sexy Fish noted 'bay leaf herbs, black cherry fruit and good integration for a great food wine'.

£19.83 Bibendum Wine

Dandelion Vineyards, Pride of The Fleurieu, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, South Australia , Australia

Bronze medal winner

Daniel Murray of Berners Tavern found it 'very good, with fresh morello cherry and savoury notes of capsicum', while team leader Sam Caporn MW commented: 'Lovely cedar, black cherry and cassis with good structure.'

£9.60 Liberty Wines

Willunga 100, Cabernet/Shiraz, 2014, McLaren Vale, South Australia , Australia

Bronze medal winner

'Deep ruby colour with smoky aromas and a touch of vanilla,' began Adriana Valentini of Massimo Restaurant & Bar, continuing: 'Blackcurranty and inky with some drying tannins and a touch of spice, through to a nice long finish. Good value for money.'

£8.65 Liberty Wines

Hay Shed Hill, Pitchfork, Cabernet/Merlot, 2013, Margaret River, Western Australia , Australia

Bronze medal winner

'Intense on the nose, very fruity and jammy, with nice round tannins,' began Galvin La Chapelle's Michaela Večeřová, with team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW noting: 'Charming, ripe nose with red fruits and green herbs, with a very vivid palate.'

£8.00 Bancroft Wines

d'Arenberg, The Coppermine Road, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011, McLaren Vale, South Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner

£23.90 Enotria&Coe

Katnook Estate , Merlot, 2013, Coonawarra, South Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner

Burch Family Wines, Howard Park, Miamup, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Margaret River, Western Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner

£12.20 Enotria&Coe

Voyager Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, 2012, Margaret River, Western Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner

Larry Cherubino , Cherubino, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Margaret River, Western Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner

Shingleback, Davey Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, McLaren Vale, South Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner

£14.46 Matthew Clark

Wirra Wirra, The Good Catch, 2014, South Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner

Yalumba , The Signature, Barossa, Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz, 2012, South Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner

£24.82 Negociants

Oakridge , Local Vineyard Series, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011, Yarra Valley, Victoria , Australia

Commended medal winner

£17.64 Matthew Clark